Working from Home Due to Coronavirus? Remember WinPDF Can Help

With more and more office workers now being asked to work from home, it’s probably a good time to revisit how PDF files can help with your day-to-day workflow. Here are a few tips:

  • First and foremost — Win2PDF makes it easy to go paperless! Just use PDF files for document transfers instead of printing and sharing paper! PDF is an acronym for Portable Document Format and it can be shared with any type of user using any type of operating system. If you send a Word or Excel file, a smartphone user or a coworker on an Apple iMac or Macbook may not be able to open the document if they don’t have a Word or Excel viewer installed. PDF files, on the other hand, are universal and can be read by Windows computers, Apple computers, Chromebooks, Unix and Linux computers, iPhones, Android phones, tablets, etc.
  • Second, if you’re using Win2PDF, remember to use the ‘Send file’ option to automatically attach a PDF file to a new email message. It’ll save you a few clicks each time you create a PDF file if you need to share it with others.
  • Fourth, even the free Adobe Acrobat Reader DC program (which is installed on most PCs) has basic tools to comment, annotate, and sign documents. It’s a good way to share feedback when you do send or receive PDF files.
  • Fifth, convert legacy reporting programs to paperless systems by using the Win2PDF Auto-name feature. Need to share different reports with different departments? Add separate copies of Win2PDF and configure them for users of each department. Once reports are in PDF format instead of paper, they’re easy to view and share with users wherever they are located.
  • And lastly, make sure Win2PDF is loaded on your home PC as well. Did you know that the Win2PDF end-user license agreement allows you to install the desktop software on both a work computer and a home computer at no additional charge? You do now.

How to Create an Image from a PDF File

Suppose you have a PDF file that contains a certain page, photo, or diagram that you want to save as an image (to use in another document, for example).  How can this be done with Win2PDF?

When you install Win2PDF on your computer, it creates two different printers.  The most commonly used, obviously, is the “Win2PDF” printer.  But there is also a “Win2Image” printer that can be used to create image files in a variety of formats.

Win2Image and Win2PDF in the printers folder

The general process to save an image from a PDF file is:

  •  Open the PDF file in Adobe Reader, or any other PDF viewer application
  •  Select ‘Print’ from Adobe Reader and choose the printer named ‘Win2Image’

Select Win2Image in the Printers drop down menu

  •  Select the page you want to extract or save as an image

Select page number to extract and save as an image file

  •  Select the output format you want the new file to be.  You can save color or black & white versions in a variety of formats like JPG, TIFF, GIF, PNG, and BMP.

Select File format for the new image file

  •  Save

And that’s it.  You can now edit this new image file (crop, resize, etc.) with an image editor and insert it (if desired) into any other application.

PDF: The World’s Most Important File Format

I still haven’t seen Avengers: Endgame, but that doesn’t mean I don’t like a good origin story.  This new article explains why the PDF’s superpower is that it’s The World’s Most Important File Format.

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As the article notes, the PDF format has a long history and it’s here to stay.  “In 50 years, these PDFs, even with their weaknesses, will help us document history with little of the ephemeral nature of the web. And unlike in paper form, those PDFs won’t suffer from frayed pages. The history of our generation will probably be in PDF form.”

Survive This Tax Season? Start Organizing Next Year’s Tax Documents Now!

If you’re like most of us, there’s nothing like the looming deadline of April 15th to rouse you into organizing your tax documents.  Every year, I think I should have a better system of organizing my files to make it easier for the following year.  While not perfect, I have made some progress through the use of a couple free Adobe apps, combined with the use of Win2PDF.  Here’s one system I use:

Adobe Reader DC

First off, I rely on the free Adobe Reader DC software for my desktop PC, laptop, and even my Apple computer.  The “DC” designation in this software stands for Document Cloud.  It requires you to sign up for a free Adobe login to access the Adobe Document Cloud, but once you do, you’ll be able to access your saved PDF files from any device.

Adobe Scan (for iOS or Android)

adc-adobe-scan-app-enhance-feature-450x500-en.jpeg.imgSecond, I’ve really come to rely on the very handy Adobe Scan app on my phone (it’s available both through the Apple App Store or from the Google Play Store).

As the Adobe introduction page points out, “Adobe Scan automatically captures and cleans picture-perfect images of anything — receipts, forms, pictures, business cards, notes. Then, using built-in optical character recognition (OCR), it transforms them into smart PDFs, available in Adobe Document Cloud. Now, they’re easy to search and share from anywhere.

With those 2 applications (plus Win2PDF) I can do a bunch of things to organize my tax documents (or any other documents).  Here’s one suggestion for storing charitable donation receipts:

  1. Scan paper receipts for charitable contributions (donation receipts, mailed letters, etc.) using Adobe Scan with your phone and save the files to the cloud.
  2. On the desktop PC, access these files using the Adobe Document Cloud (via Adobe Reader DC).
  3. Use Win2PDF to append any additional electronic documents (email receipts, other PDF files, etc.) and combine all of the charitable contribution receipts for the year in a single PDF file (e.g., to a file called “Charitable Tax Receipts 2019.pdf”).
  4. Keep this document stored in the Adobe Document Cloud (or any other cloud service like Dropbox, Google Drive, etc.) and keep adding to it throughout the year as you make contributions and collect receipts.
  5. When April 15, 2020 rolls around you’ll have a complete electronic file of your receipts.  Voilà!
  6. And, as a bonus, you can use the new Win2PDF command line features to extract specific pages or print specific pages if you need to in the future.

This works well for charitable contributions, but I also have been using it for non-tax purposes as well, such as:

  • Medical expenses and prescriptions
  • Home improvement expenses
  • My dog’s veterinary bills (and medical history)
  • Keeping a copy of Christmas cards we receive each year (while recycling all of the paper)
  • Recipes
  • Concert ticket stubs

You get the idea.  Just scan and save from your phone, organize everything from your desktop, and store you collection of PDF files in the cloud.  And best of all this is all FREE!  Which is a very nice thing to consider, especially after tax season…

Is your PDF Reader up-to-date?

Just a reminder to anyone receiving or opening PDF files: keep your PDF Readers up-to-date with new patches.  Adobe Reader announced an update to address 86 security vulnerabilities.  Similarly, Foxit Reader announced an update to address 118 vulnerabilities.

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As this article from ZDNet explains,

“Adobe’s scheduled October update for its Acrobat and Reader PDF software addresses 85 vulnerabilities, including dozens of critical flaws that allow arbitrary code execution … Users and admins nonetheless should install fixed versions, according to Adobe…”

Halloween is still almost a month away, so make sure you keep the scary stuff away from your computer until then.

Adobe’s security bulletin (with link to update).

Foxit Reader security bulletin (with link to update).

How to Add a Signature and Date to a PDF file

One of the questions we frequently get is:  Can I use Win2PDF to add a signature to a PDF file?

While Win2PDF doesn’t directly support this, many people don’t realize the free Adobe Reader software they already have installed already has this capability.  And it’s quite easy to use.

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For example, suppose you are using Win2PDF to create a sales quote for a new customer, and you want to have them sign, date, and return the quote as a PDF file so it can be archived.  In the “old days”, the customer would need to print the PDF file, sign the paper, and then scan it back in to the computer.  With Adobe Reader, this is not necessary.  Just open the PDF file, insert a digital signature and add text for date, initials, PO number, etc., and then save the PDF file to return it.  Here’s a short tutorial that shows how it can be done:

For additional information, you can visit Adobe’s support page on signing PDFs.

Happy signing…